St. Joseph's University in Patchogue in 2018, when it was still...

St. Joseph's University in Patchogue in 2018, when it was still St. Joseph's College. Credit: Barry Sloan

The Patchogue and Brooklyn campuses of St. Joseph's University have announced a $1 million donation gifted by Boston Red Sox part-owner Stephen Somers that will provide for endowed scholarships for students in select programs.

Students in the university's nursing programs and its Academic, Career, and Essential Skills (ACES) program — an intensive reading and writing program for high-achieving immigrant students for whom English is a new language — would be eligible.

In announcing the gift, St. Joseph's said the Somers Endowed Nursing Scholarship will provide $500,000 for undergraduate student scholarships for "high-need, high-achieving upper level nursing students" during their junior and senior years. It also will provide $500,000 for scholarships for students enrolled in the ACES program at the school's Brooklyn campus.

Somers is a 1982 graduate of the Brooklyn campus of St. Joseph's, where he earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry. He then began a career in the flavor and fragrance industry. He earned a master's at St. John 's University and purchased Vigon International Inc. — a fragrance and flavor manufacturer in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Somers sold his interest in the company in 2021 and recently became an ownership partner with the Fenway Sports Group, owners of the Boston Red Sox.

"I hope the students who receive these scholarships realize the gift they have been given and reach back to support the University with whatever help they can give," Somers said in a statement, adding: "That may be their time, talent, mentorship or financial gifts. If you have the good fortune to live your dreams like I have, then in turn, you need to pay it forward so others can do the same."

The university said Somers, who lives with his wife in Hackettstown, New Jersey, has a long history of philanthropic giving to St. Joseph's.

"This wonderful gift from Steve will have a profound impact on our students, many of whom depend on additional financial support to attend St. Joseph's," university president Donald R. Boomgaarden said in a statement. "His continued generosity to his alma mater, and his love for our students, is remarkable."

Founded in 1916 as St. Joseph's College for Women, the school became St. Joseph's College in 1970, when it admitted its first male students, before becoming St. Joseph's University in 2022.

It has an enrollment of about 1,000 students at its Brooklyn campus and about 2,500 at its Patchogue campus.

The Long Island site previously served as home to Seton Hall High School.

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